When someone’s child passes away, it can be difficult to know what to say or do. Just knowing that you’re there to help can make all the difference in their ability to cope with their loss and begin the healing process, but even then it can be hard to figure out what the best approach is. Let’s look at some ways you can help someone whose child has passed away, and how they might react in response to your kind efforts.
When someone’s child passes, it can be a difficult time for them and their family. Gifts for grieving mothers are thoughtful gestures that don’t need to cost a lot of money but will be greatly appreciated. If you want to send something, consider sending flowers from your local flower shop or perhaps a card/note with your condolences. You could also include tickets to an event (perhaps for something like a baseball game or children’s show) to allow them to spend time with friends and family—because even small moments of happiness help during times like these. Donate to their child’s name: Giving back is important because it helps those who have lost something that they love to have something else they can enjoy.
Ask how they are doing
Ask them how they are doing and listen to their response. Just because someone is a survivor of child loss, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t hard days and bad moments. Ask if there is anything you can do for them (i.e., babysitting, bringing over dinner). If they are open to your help, keep checking in and offering to do whatever you can to help. Also, understand that everyone mourns the loss of their child differently. Not everyone has acceptance right away or moves towards grieving openly—and that’s okay! Respect them at their level of grief rather than pressuring them into moving through stages faster than they need to.
Include their child in conversations
This may seem like a no-brainer, but sometimes we aren’t sure how to proceed when it comes to talking about their child. It is okay to ask them about their child and for pictures. If you feel comfortable, it can be nice to share stories of your own children or experiences that you have had with your kids. Don’t avoid these conversations out of fear that they will upset them or because you don’t know what to say. There are other ways besides asking directly if they want to talk about it and if they do not, that is perfectly fine and there are still ways you can support them without doing so.
Do something specific for them
Giving people space to grieve on their own is important, but that doesn’t mean you can’t help them. Sometimes we get so caught up in trying to be a good friend or spouse that we neglect our loved one’s needs for us. Focus on helping your loved one do something specific—like cook, shop for groceries, or take care of an errand—instead of just telling them what you know they already know. If you don’t have an immediate task for someone in your life who has lost a child, think about what kinds of things would bring them comfort and try to do those things for them during such a hard time.
Although your first instinct will be to jump in and help as much as you can, you must also know the difference between helping and interfering. Take cues from your loved one and move accordingly.